Israel’s Netanyahu survives ruling party leadership primary


Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a leadership primary in his right-wing Likud party on Friday, ensuring he will lead it into March elections.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, who faces a corruption indictment and a third general election in twelve months, was expected to beat rival Gideon Saar but a close result could have weakened his influence over the party he has dominated for 20 years.

“A huge win! Thank you to Likud members for their trust, support and love,” Netanyahu tweeted an hour after polls closed.

Initial results showed Netanyahu had won a comfortable victory over Saar, though a final tally was expected to take several hours.

An unofficial exit poll gave him 71 percent of the vote and Saar 29 percent.

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